Day 472: Ah-ooooohhhhh!

We are a house of many vacuums. There is our Dyson upright for general household chores, our large wet/dry vac for the workshop, our cordless handheld vac with twister cyclonic technology that works as well as sucking on a straw, and a small 2.5 gallon shop vac we use for daily cleaning of the pellet stove fines.

The small shop vac works just great at sucking up ultra-fine ash from the pellet stove. The problem is that there’s this rubber ring inside that’s supposed to hold a filter in place and it lets go the instant you turn the thing on. The result is a powerful cloud of fine dust sprayed into the air, into your hair and eyes and lungs and settling on everything in the cellar. Although the vac was a bargain at only $29, we decided we needed to replace it with a slightly larger model that had a decent screw in place filter.

So a couple of days ago off to Lowes we went and returned home with a nice big box. Whenever we add a piece of equipment to the homestead the cats get excited. They can’t wait for us to remove whatever piece of junk might be hidden in the carton so they can begin trying out the box as a fort or a den or whatever they imagine hiding in the box will do for them. This time Eowyn and Dove took turns leaping into the vac box, hunkering down, and popping their heads out and back in like a Jack-in-the-box.

Back to the vacuum itself. In the past, none of our critters has had any particular reaction to the various vacs that we use around the house. I know that some dogs go crazy when the vac is switched on and try to bite it or run away – but not our animals. They’ve seemed to regard vacuuming as just one more thing we do to keep ourselves entertained and go about their business ignoring us – to the point of us needing to shoo them out of the way with a gentle foot as we clean the floor.

shop-vac1I’m here to warn you that the Lowe’s 6-Gallon 3-HP Shop Vacuum Item #334639 is not what it appears to be. In reality it is a mechanical timber wolf. We brought the vac down into the cellar, plugged it in, and immediately both Chase and Kendal came running from the other end of the house to see what was up. They were riveted to the little blue vac and its hum – staring, circling, fascinated.

howlAfter a few minutes of this Chase raised his head and did something he has never done before: he howled. A long, deep, soulful howl filled the house accompanied by the drone of the shop vac.

Kendal shifted his gaze from the vac to Chase. Kendal has also never howled before. He simply stared at Chase for a few minutes with an expression of profound admiration. What a great idea! I wonder if I can do that? He then tilted his head back and let out a series of wha-wha-wha-wooohhh sounds at a slightly higher pitch. We had a trio: Chase, Kendal, and the #334639.

Delphine and I watched with grins and giggles. It wasn’t the first voice lesson Chase had given Kendal. When we first brought Kendal home from the shelter he was completely quiet – no barking, no yelping, no sounds at all. I guess survival on the streets of San Antonio goes better if no one knows you’re there.

Not so for pampered Shelties. They’ll bark just to pass the time. Anyhow, when Kendal first came to our homestead he listened to Chase bark his head off for a few days and then found his own voice. Now the two will bark a duet whenever a car is passing the house and frequently if a car isn’t passing the house.

So we were down in the cellar with the new shop vac sucking fines out of the pellet stove and Chase and Kendal letting the pack know whatever they were letting the pack know. I then tilted my head back and let out my best Ah-ooohhhh! Apparently all are welcome in this choir. Chase and Kendal accepted my contribution without so much as blinking. We men stand together when it comes to warning the pack or wooing the ladies or whatever we were doing.

And it felt so right. Ah-ooohhhh! Congress sucks. Ah-ooohhhh! Stop the killing in Syria. Ah-ooohhhh! The corporate pandemic. Ah-ooohhhh! Stop flashing ads on the lower third of my television when I’m trying to watch a movie!

Chase – not just a pretty face.  Ah-ooohhhh!

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